Avatar 2 Story Details Solve A Problem With Jake & Neytiri

Jake and Neytiri stood accused of lacking depth and relying on obvious character stereotypes in the original 2009 Avatar movie, but fresh details from Avatar 2 tease a more exciting direction for the cobalt-colored couple. James Cameron's Avatar broke records upon release, dominating at the box office, racking up award nominations, and receiving plaudits from impressed cinematic icons such as Steven Spielberg. Over the 11 years since, the dizzying glare of Avatar's breathtaking visuals has faded, exposing deficiencies in story, character, and James Cameron's moral message.

One frequent Avatar criticism is the strength of main characters Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana). The heroic duo look fantastic in all their CG splendor, but both adhere to surprisingly basic character models. Jake is the classic western rebel, fighting back against greedy corporate villains in the name of mother nature; Neytiri is the wild, indigenous foreigner who falls in love with the white rescuer. Neither possessed much depth beyond those generic, tried-and-tested roles, and their uninspired dialogue ensured Pandora was by far the most well-rounded and realistic entity Avatar had to offer.

Related: The Real Reason The Avatar Sequels Are Taking So Long

After a long period of quiet, 2022 will herald the "Decade of Avatar," with a roster of 4 sequels scheduled to release before 2030. Reports indicate Avatar 2 & 3 filmed simultaneously, with work on Avatar 4 & 5 also underway, and though details are few, Jon Landau (Avatar producer) has shed some light on the first sequel's plot. Jake Sully and Neytiri are now parents, and their tribe is forced to vacate the forest by another band of greedy miners seeking unobtainium. They take refuge in Pandora's reefs, which are already home to the Metkayina clan. Cue watery mo-cap misadventures.

Jon Landau's story synopsis promises Jake and Neytiri will become infinitely more interesting upon their big screen comeback. Raising a brood of little Na'vi terrors gives both characters more personal and relatable motivations to resist invasion - rather than Jake earning his way into Neytiri's hammock, or Neytiri honoring the oft-misunderstand traditions of her ancestors. Avatar 2 finds the Sullys fighting for the future of their own family, allowing Jake and Neytiri a far greater stake in Pandora's survival. Already, this ensures the protagonists will seem less generic compared to 2009's Avatar. A mother and father battling invaders to protect their kids is almost a 180-degree flip on standard sci-fi tropes, and the broader theme of alien parenthood remains largely unexplored, releasing Worthington and Saldana's characters from their shallow 2009 stereotypes, and ejecting the Avatar franchise from its narrative comfort zone.

Avatar 2 relocating Jake and Neytiri's Omaticaya clan from the forest to the ocean creates another novel dynamic for the sequel. In the original Avatar, Neytiri was the strong-but-feral native, while Jake played the white outsider beating the Na'vi at their own customs. As the Sullys' young family seeks shelter among Pandora's reefs, Avatar 2's aquatic location deconstructs the original movie's tiresome native/newcomer relationship, because Jake and Neytiri are both fish out of water (or, more accurately, in water) this time around.

Avatar 2's new corner of Pandora brings fresh opportunities for inter-species conflict too. James Cameron's original movie touched upon the various other Na'vi clans dotted around Pandora, but stuck mainly to the forest-dwelling Omaticaya. Shining a spotlight onto the Metkayina clan allows Avatar 2 to explore the delicate relations between rival Na'vi tribes. Why are they so divided? Can two clans coexist in the face of adversity? Does protecting the clan take priority over the Na'vi species as a whole? These questions challenge Jake and Neytiri in ways Avatar never did, meaning character nuances that were notably absent before have no choice but to surface in Avatar 2.

More: Avatar 2 Should Bring Back The First Movie's Best Deleted Scene

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